Sure, students pursuing a degree in teaching should not have a mandatory showing of "Fahrenheit 911." There may be too many ideologues of all stripes training our teachers. And, it would be great to have people with primary and advanced degrees in mathematics and biology teaching math and science in all of our schools. Maybe Mr. Will could propose the funding sources to pay these recruits and provide the money to retain all these brainiacs in the field of teaching.
Certainly, George Will possesses one of the keenest intellects in our society, and is one the finest columnists in America today. As usual, he has intriguing insights, however, he misses the forest for the trees this time.
Schools of education are missing more than political neutrality. Realistic and rigorous training for all future teachers is not often paired with high academic standards for students pursuing a degree in education. A degree program that matches strong academics with meticulous pre-professional preparation is a rare commodity. In addition, it is no secret that the poor pay and abhorrent working conditions in our schools today are discouraging factors for bright and engaging young people searching for a fulfilling career.
As a proud graduate of Anderson University in Indiana, I can safely state that no one ever asked my political philosophy. I have coached student teachers from Cedarville University, The University of Dayton, Wright State University, Wilberforce University, and Central State University. Political views have NEVER entered into any of those discussions. The focus has always been on teaching methodology, professional behavior and ethics, and knowledge and skills related to the subject matter being taught. There are many of these young people who should have been counseled out of teaching before they ever met me during their final semester in their culminating project. Many of these student teachers needed more experience in teaching methods, a good deal more common sense, and stronger skills in the subject matter.
While some of the larger state institutions may be replete with political indoctrination, most schools of education do not go astray in this area. These schools simply need a dual focus on the mastery of the field of study, and on a practical course of study in teaching methodology for all of their potential graduates.
Mr. Will is certainly above delivering this boilerplate epistle full of standard claims of liberal bias at state schools. This column of Mr. Will's makes him appear to be the victim of the conservative ruse of utilizing isolated incidents to paint an entire canvas. These clichés of contemplation serve only to undermine the credibility of the conservative movement, and reduce educational issues to trite remnants that merit no further debate.
Ed Wonk has noteworthy commentary.